Real Snow Backcountry silver: Gigi Rüf
They say either be great or be interesting. But what if you are both?
Real Snow Backcountry silver medalist Gigi Rüf is one of the most stylish and inventive riders of his entire generation. He has literally shaped what we understand is possible to do on a snowboard with the power of thought, and he is known as much for his undeniable talent as his unpredictable creativity. Where many would see obstacles, Rüf sees opportunities.
Simply put, it's not the tricks he does that are so impressive, it is the way in which he does them that is particularly special.
Jake Price, the cinematographer behind "9191" -- the 2010 snowboard movie that spanned the career of the 30-year-old Austrian -- teamed up with Rüf again for the production of his Real Snow video part. We got Rüf and Price together to talk about how the edit all came together while almost falling apart.
ESPN: It was a really weird winter earlier in the season when the filming for Real Snow Backcountry was taking place. Where did you end up filming?
Rüf: We mainly worked outside of one resort in my area of Albert, in Austria, and had a lot of snow -- a lot of snow! But because of that conditions were pretty sketchy at times, so it was as much about taking care of one another as it has been about having fun. The backcountry demands a lot of attention in many different ways and safety is always the most important.
I dream about snowboarding every day and it's those dreams that sometimes show themselves in my riding.” -- Gigi Rüf
Price: If you are going into the backcountry and expect to be safe, everyone needs to be strong and prepared. You can't just bust right into a zone without any preparation and expect to get anything done, let alone be in a safe environment. We have to get along with nature.
Rüf: And luck is with the prepared. Fortunately had an amazing start to the season in the Alps and I got to ride a lot at home before we even started filming.
Price: As a filmer it is really important to me for Gigi to be snowboarding for the sake of snowboarding before trying to put together a part. It can be like a job for these guys; they have to be on point. Every day is a mission and getting a 10-second clip is often days in the making. Having fun takes precedence.
Rüf: It's not always easy what we do, but it's always fun!
Were there any surprises along the way?
Rüf: Every day! But mostly good ones!
Price: Well on day three of filming the light sensor on my camera burned out. So I ended up filming a lot of this by feel. But it actually gives a cool effect that you can't get anywhere else. Truthfully though, it was kind of stressful. The camera was seriously limping the entire process, but in my opinion Real Snow should be about the snowboarding anyways, not the fancy cameras or production.
I worked on Dan Brisse's winning video last year and learned that in the end it really comes down to the snowboarding. You can use all the effects and production techniques available but it really boils down to the riding … or it should.
How long did you guys have to put this together?
Price: With someone like Gigi and myself who have been doing this for so long, a part like this is really 20 years in the making.
Rüf: I dream about snowboarding every day and it's those dreams that sometimes show themselves in my riding. When the snow is as deep as it was you get excited to try all of these maneuvers that you have been thinking about all summer.
What will you do with your winnings?
Rüf: Splitting it 50/50 I think is the only way.
Price: I don't think that is fair.
Rüf: But you have to carry that big backpack around.
Price: You have to hit all the jumps though.
Rüf: But I like hitting the jumps!
Price: Well maybe I like carrying around 50 pounds on my back!
Will we get to see this footage in the new Volcom project you're working on as well?
Rüf: I don't think that footage should be recycled like that. We filmed Real Snow for that purpose, not to be used for anything else. Hopefully we will get enough footage throughout the year that these clips will not have to be reused.
Price: Yeah, I never even thought about recycling this footage. This is a project of its own.